Questions tagged [writing-style]

Questions about the writing style of a particular sentence, phrase or construction in English. Questions asking for advice on writing style are off-topic.

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32 views

usage of as and have

When I was reading a novel by Steinbeck, I have met the sentence below: "He stalked her then, game-wise, as he had the woodchucks on the knoll when day after day he had lain lifeless as a young ...
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Does anyone have any poems or stories in which they don't use the same word twice? [migrated]

I am after a poem/story that has no repetitions in words, further, is this a type of writing style? are there any famous examples where this is the case? Repetition is the act of repeating or ...
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1answer
42 views

Is defining the first use of an acronym within parenthesis allowed?

I don't see a rule against it, but defining an acronym within parenthesis does not seem correct (e.g., Awkward Definition of Acronym (ADA)). Does defining ADA like this break rules?
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23 views

Can I omit “which”+verb in a non-defining relative clause?

Which sentence below sounds better? Is there an incorrect/correct one? Is there a difference in meaning? I tend to like the second one the most. To me, it has the same meaning as the first one but bit ...
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2answers
27 views

Describing disdain on someones face

I have tried to create a description of a face that shows a condescending feeling towards the person they are looking at also hinting to a past of abuse due to power dynamics. I haven't done much of ...
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1answer
110 views

Why did Thomas Paine use both “hath” and “has” in the same sentence?

My understanding is that "hath" is archaic, but has exactly the same meaning as "has". But then why would an educated writer use both in the same sentence when writing a formal ...
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1answer
66 views

Which is better here, colon or dash?

Their style favors texture and timbre over more familiar and comforting musical elements; there is no beat, melody, or rhythm – only techno-cacophony. Can I switch the dash for a colon, like this? ...
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26 views

Can you tell me about the style of writing used in the Federalist Papers?

I've always found the Federalist Papers extremely hard to read. They have many complex words, long sentences, subordinate clauses, and large paragraphs. Here are two examples of sentences to frame ...
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25 views

Possessive determiner followed by a stand-alone adjective?

My grammar lecturer told us that "I thought her selfish." is correct and it is used like the sentence "I thought she was selfish." He said native English speakers use this ...
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2answers
31 views

“As they are referred” vs. “As they appear” when we discuss terms and their definitions

I have a technical document that starts with an introduction section describing the key terms that are used in the document. What is the proper way to name this section? Path component names as they ...
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18 views

To make an attempt vs. to attempt

As far as I understand, to make an attempt and to attempt mean the same thing, but I'm pretty sure there's still a difference between them that I don't know. Does make an attempt put more emphasis on ...
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1answer
40 views

Writing style guidelines on gerund (ab)use

In novel writing, there is general advice not to use gerunds (i.e. verb forms ending with -ing). In general, that makes sense. "She was going to the store" -> "She went to the store&...
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1answer
50 views

Which is the proper way to use (and mark) nested parentheses?

I found some posts on whether it is acceptable to nest parentheses (e.g. here) but there is no discussion yet about which parentheses should be used when nesting, and how. These are some alternative ...
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19 views

Are there guidelines for mid-sentence code blocks and bulleted lists

Question Are there guidelines for the placement of nonstandard typography in the middle of a sentence? I'm working on a blog that will have multiple authors. Should we bother with style consistency ...
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2answers
1k views

Is “Black” correct, incorrect, or could it be used as either “Black” or “black”? [duplicate]

I was reading an article that I was assigned by my professor, and I came across the following: “We’re the ones getting killed,” Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who is Black, said in an ...
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2answers
54 views

Why use “he include”? [duplicate]

To expect Daub to acknowledge critiques of tech thinking by women is to expect that he include not the most feminist or woke critiques of those philosophies, but the most trenchant ones. Why he ...
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1answer
87 views

Chanterelle and Chantrelle, which is the correct name of the mushroom?

I always spell it as chanterelle until I bought a box of CHANTRELLE in Whole Foods Market. I looked up my dictionary, and yes, the word should be chanterelle. However, I also noticed that, the word ...
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28 views

Using single quotation marks for shorter quotes, and double quotation marks for longer ones?

Background This website has had a fair share of questions on the use of single versus double quotation marks. The most popular question on this topic is a good resource on their use in American and ...
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48 views

If I'd like to indicate a duration of more than x years, can I write it as “+x years”?

For instance, can I say "we provided +10 hours of programming services"?
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19 views

To keep or not to keep THAT is the question

Is it discretionary to drop "that" from the sentence below (and similar sentences)? The movie's script was so bad it blew. Or am I flouting some rule of grammar here? Thank you!
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1answer
79 views

Can we use a semicolon before “to”-infinitives?

I just read a sentence that goes like this: I have woven the grief of your departure into amulets; to wear around my neck, until they dissolve into my skin. So far I have learnt that semicolons can ...
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1answer
25 views

Can I say “how eager” and “awaits me”?

The fish used to bawl when I left, and the chicken would tell me how eager the fish awaited me. Disregard the chickens and fish, I just needed something tangible. ABC is sad when I go; XYZ tells me ...
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3answers
55 views

A word that's between 'recommended' and 'awarded'?

Is there a word that is between 'recommended' and 'awarded', take for example: The boss recommended the Prize to Jill. and The boss awarded the Prize to Jill. I don't want it to be emphasized that the ...
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11 views

Part of the word in parenthesis

I am looking at different movie titles that put part of a word in parenthesis: (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies (In)Visible Portraits ->Visible Portraits (Mis) Treating Prisoners: Health Care ...
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1answer
54 views

Spell out numbers or use numerals when in a list?

So we often get the general advice that we should spell out small numbers and use numerals for large numbers. However, what if you are referring to a list of a few numbers, some large and some small. ...
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2answers
26 views

Alternative ways to express “Examples of Something” [closed]

I am conceiving the title of a web page where a number of examples will be listed. I can use the page title "Examples of Something" e.g. "Examples of Cars", "Examples of Jobs&...
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1answer
202 views

Formal title/honorific for a lawyer

Let's say there is a lawyer named Sue Smith. She could be referred to as Ms. Smith, but is there a different formal prepended honorific specific to lawyers? Particularly when addressing one directly.
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1answer
58 views

It should be used **with** in this paragraph?

Should be used with in this paragraph to indicate the contribution that she could do by studying a specific master's program? Using water is necessary but it needs to be done carefully to avoid ...
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1answer
23 views

Is 'excelled' appropriate here?

I am wondering whether excelled was correctly used or not in this paragraph?. I do not want to use outstanding. Despite she is from a vulnerable region in the countryside with low educational ...
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1answer
44 views

“In cases where” vs. “If”

Garner's Modern English Usage (2016), p. 147: H.W. Fowler wrote of case: "There is perhaps no single word so freely resorted to as a trouble-saver, and consequently responsible for so much ...
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10 views

“Meaning” or “Meaning that” - are both appropriate?

What is the correct way to use "meaning that", i.e. which (or both?) are appropriate: We're in the Brand Registry, meaning that our products are uniquely protected... We're in the Brand ...
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7answers
319 views

Where does “Whatcha” & “Didja” come from?

Does anyone know where "Whatcha" and/or "Didja" originate from? Watcha: What did you? Didja: Did you? Edit: I cannot find these words in my English Grammar books and they are ...
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1answer
38 views

Is it better to use 'difficult' instead of 'hard', 'large/largest' instead of 'big/biggest'?

For academic writing, I've seen scholars mostly use the latter words from the title, but sometimes I see the use of 'hard' or 'biggest'. The difference in 'sophistication' and formality between 'big' ...
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1answer
31 views

Can we use “Not only, but too” instead of "Not only, but also,?

I am wondering about the use of "Not only, but too" instead of "Not only, but also.? For example: The candidates campaigned not only in Perth but in Darwin too. and is it formal to ...
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1answer
39 views

It has been used correctly this phrase in this paragraph?

I am wondering whether the following paragraph is clear. I am particularly concerned about the last phrase (emphasized). Joined work with local authorities to find alternatives to confront climatic ...
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12 views

Is there any alternative for “You're welcome” in actual talks? [duplicate]

I've heard that it's quite awkward to say "You're welcome" in actual talks. Is there any alternative for this sentence?
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121 views

Does the Oxford comma apply to ampersands?

I came across this text on a shoe description: Durable but light, & flexible enough to move with the foot. I am well aware of the Oxford Comma, so the text would use durable but light, and ...
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1answer
93 views

Does “8am” mean 𝒆𝒙𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒍𝒚 08:00:00.000 in the morning, or does it just mean any time closer to that hour than to either 7:00 or to 9:00? [closed]

Suppose I wanted to indicate the range of time from exactly 8:00am to exactly 8:30am. Should I write “8:00am” for explicitness, or is exactly 8:00am implied by “8am”? Also, is “2:15pm–2:45pm”, for ...
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3answers
39 views

Writing a comparative sentence with two comparative parameters [closed]

Consider two aqueous solutions: Solution 1 Solution 2 Then note that: The temperature of the solution 1 is higher than that of the solution 2. The pressure of the solution 1 is lower than that of ...
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1answer
49 views

What is the place of “say” between 2 direct speeches [duplicate]

I read a book, and I see that: "Oh - the black hat," I say. "No!" says Shami. "The blue hat is nicer." We watch and wait. In the end, the woman takes the blue hat. "...
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0answers
42 views

Sentences within a sentence [closed]

Is there a standard way to manage sentences within a sentence? For example: Using the following definition Definition 1: A graph G is isomorphic to another graph H if there is an isomorphism f from ...
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1answer
53 views

“Discouraged to” vs. “Recommended to not”

In the past, pregnant women have been recommended to not exercise because of presumed risks of preterm birth. In the past, pregnant women have been discouraged to exercise because of presumed risks of ...
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1answer
65 views

Synthesis and Transformation

Give the task of synthesizing and transforming these two sentences: John ran after the snatch thief. John tripped over a stone and fell. Into just one of this form: While ____________, ____________....
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2answers
62 views

How do you decide whether to use “-ing” or “-ation/-age” when either is correct?

"The demonising of people on benefits by the Government is shameful" "The demonisation of people on benefits by the Government is shameful" And by the way, should I be saying "...
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4answers
2k views

What type of English is used in the dialogue of the Lord of the Rings movies? [closed]

In the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Elrond speaks to his daughter: "If Aragorn survives this war, you will still be parted. If Sauron is defeated and Aragorn made king and all ...
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1answer
52 views

can you say “he is in a lively chat with her”

My question is about style. Does it sound natural if you say that someone "is in a lively chat/conversation with someone" or is it better to say "he is ENGAGED in a lively chat with her&...
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2answers
77 views

Should one italicise an italicised phase within a book title?

In UK/Commonwealth styles, is there a generally accepted convention for whether or not one italicises or renders roman an italicised phrase within the title of a book? My specific example, which may ...
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0answers
31 views

Quotation marks in “call it [something] for short”

It seems that many (most of?) newspapers and journals don't use quotation marks in constructions like "call it [something] for short". Or even italic. Is it really okay to keep it plain? No ...
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1answer
28 views

Which style/tense is more appropriate to use when describing a sequence of events in the past?

When describing events in the past, I've seen two different styles used: The plane caught on fire. The plane crashed into the building. (past tense) The plane catches on fire. The plane crashes ...
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1answer
28 views

It's a great honour to find myself being [closed]

I have received an email from someone I admire. Is there anything wrong or unidiomatic about the following sentence? How would you say it? It's a great honour to find myself being addressed/approached ...

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